NOTE: Friday’s Verse of the Day said we would continue Daniel 10:12 today, but a Bible Study has sent me in a different direction for a period of time.
July 19, 2021 – Monday
Romans 12:20 NIV
20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.
This came as a result of our Bible Study tonight when we looked at Psalm 51, a Psalm of David, where verse 10 NKJV reads, But You, O Lord, be merciful to me, and raise me up, That I may repay them, which is very much like the NIV, But may you have mercy on me, Lord; raise me up, that I may repay them.
Of course, you are likely wondering who David wanted to repay? Well verse 9 gives us part of the answer, about one of them and it reads, Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me. Then before we could go further, we found Jesus quoted this verse in John 13:18 during the Last Supper, I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me’ where He was speaking of Judas Iscariot who betrayed Him.
But getting back to Psalm 51 and who David was referring to as them we look at verses 7-10, All who hate me whisper together against me; Against me they devise my hurt. “An evil disease,” they say, “clings to him. And now that he lies down, he will rise up no more.” Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me. But You, O Lord, be merciful to me, and raise me up, That I may repay them. In effect they were saying David deserved his disease, his sickness, because he had done evil and sinned before God and it was their desire he not recover. David wanted God to dash the hopes-predictions of his enemies and heal him so he would be restored to his position of authority. Then he could repay them. This would not be revenge, but his duty as king per Romans 13:4, For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. I have to wonder though, what would the proper punishment be for gossip, hoping for the death of your king? My guess, probably not death, but certainly removal any position within the king’s court or governance, effectively a public shaming.
Returning to our verse for the day, it was determined it originated from Proverbs 25:21-22, If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, And the Lord will reward you. Notice at the end in Proverbs we have, And the Lord will reward you. However, the end in Romans comes in the next verse 12:21, Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Looking at this a bit deeper found the roots of the verse goes back further than Proverbs to 2 Kings 6 where after capturing a band of Arameans who had been raiding Israel the king asked the prophet Elisha v21, Shall I kill them? I’m sure Elisha’s answer must have surprised Israel’s king but note the result, Do not kill them. Would you kill those you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.” So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.
The result from 2 Kings leads me to believe the explanation provided by Barnes’ Notes on the Bible on the last part of our verse for today, In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head to be correct. Barnes writes, [T]he idea here is not that in so doing we shall call down divine vengeance on the man; but the apostle is speaking of the natural effect or result of showing him kindness. Burning coals heaped on a man’s head would be expressive of intense agony. So the apostle says that the “effect” of doing good to an enemy would be to produce pain. But the pain will result from shame, remorse of conscience, a conviction of the evil of his conduct, and an apprehension of divine displeasure that may lead to repentance. To do this, is not only perfectly right, but it is desirable. If a man can be brought to reflection and true repentance, it should be done.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Let me be led to do good to my enemies in the hope that they would turn to Christ in time as you have shown in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.